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California Lemon Pound Cake

Citrus trees grow abundantly in California, and I'm always looking for new recipes which use the fruit from the orange and lemon trees in my yard. This is one of my favorites! My mother passed this recipe down to me. —Richard Killeaney, Spring Valley, California
  • Total Time
    Prep: 15 min. Bake: 70 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    12-16 servings


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest


  • In a large bowl, cream the butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in lemon zest and extract. Combine the flour, salt and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Beat just until combined.
  • Pour into a greased 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 350° for 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • In a small bowl, combine the frosting ingredients; beat until smooth. Spread over top of cake.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • For extra nonstick insurance, grease with shortening, then give the greased pan a quick spritz of cooking spray.
  • A flexible plastic knife works wonders to remove a cake from a fluted tube pan without damage. Slide the knife along the sides and center of the pan to loosen the cake before inverting it.

  • Editor's Note
    Nutrition Facts
    1 slice: 500 calories, 23g fat (11g saturated fat), 107mg cholesterol, 333mg sodium, 70g carbohydrate (50g sugars, 1g fiber), 5g protein.


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    Average Rating:
    • Arlene
      Feb 25, 2020

      More lemon

    • tammycookblogsbooks
      Dec 22, 2019

      Lemon desserts are a favorite of one of my kids and myself so we like trying different recipes. This cake turned out good. I would like to add poppy seeds to it as others have said.

    • lvarner
      Aug 3, 2019

      This cake turned out really well. It had a wonderful texture typical of pound cale, and the taste was excellent. I have sometimes just used vanilla when I did not have lemon extract on hand and of course it was not as lemony but still had an excellent taste. Be sure to great the pan well!

    • justmbeth
      Jun 4, 2019

      Turned out quite nice. The icing gave it a bit of sweetness. I will make this one again.

    • Dina
      May 26, 2019

      This recipe was a huge success. I tasted the batter prior to adding the milk and felt it was lacking that lemony flavor that I was looking for. Therefore, I followed some other recommendations and instead of a full cup of milk, I used 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice and 1/2 cup of milk. I also added 1/4 cup of poppy seeds just for the heck of it. This cake was moist and delicious. The perfect lemon flavor. I would HIGHLY recommend, however, that you grease AND flour the pan. I just greased it per the directions and, unfortunately, it stuck to the bottom. I will also wrap foil around the bottom, because the part that stuck seemed a little too brown. I don't see how the cake turned out dry for other reviewers. With 2 sticks of butter, 1/2 shortening and 5 eggs, that seems darn near impossible. This will definitely make it to my recipe book. :)

    • Ann
      Mar 31, 2019

      This lemon bunt cake was the bomb. Everyone absolutely loved it. So moist. The only change I made was subbing the shortening for butter flavor Crisco.

    • P vinod
      Dec 22, 2018

      Lovely recipe will try to get it made at home or get it from a nice store.thanks

    • Marian
      Jul 12, 2018

      Someone suggested using lemon oil. That is extremely strong. I wouldn't use it and I've been baking for well over 60 years. It doesn't make me an expert but I wouldn't suggest using lemon oil. It already has 1 tablespoon of lemon extract plus lemon zest. If you want more lemon then make a simple glaze with confectioners sugar and lemon juice.

    • marcibanes
      Apr 15, 2018

      Very Good. A great way to use fresh lemons from my lemon tree. The cake had lots of flavor and very moist. I will definitely make again. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

    • calicocatz
      Apr 1, 2018

      I make this pound cake for Easter. Unfortunately it was just too dry.